JavaScript Test Automation Frameworks 2022

JavaScript is one of the most widely used programming languages by developers, including test automation engineers. JavaScript has successfully kept its popularity over the years, and it is unlikely that its acclaim is going to diminish in the nearand perhaps, not so nearfuture. 

top programming languages
Top languages over the years. Source: Octoverse

Given the fact that this programming language has been in such high demand over the past several years, many automation frameworks have emerged in order to aid engineers testing JavaScript applications. For that reason, the aim of this article is to provide a deeper insight into the top 5 JavaScript test automation frameworks in 2022. We will look at the advantages and disadvantages of each so you can make a better decision when choosing a framework for your next automated testand possibly even integrating the test automation framework with a test management tool. Let’s jump right in.  

Cypress

Cypress has seen a considerable rise in use in recent years, and the reasons for its rising popularity are numerous. Some of the awesome advantages of Cypress include :

  • Simplicity of setup. Run these commands in your terminal if you are using node or npm in your project, or download Cypress directly via their CDN.
  • Active community. Besides their own extensive documentation, Cypress has an active community where engineers are introduced to various resources and where they can ask specific questions that might not be covered in the official documentation.
  • Unique test runner. Cypress has a unique test runner on which end-to-end tests can be seen in detail. The command log shows the number of tests which passed/failed/were skipped, the browsers installed locally on which the tests can be run, as well as the duration of test execution. Another cool feature of the Test Runner is being able to time-travel back to previous states of the application. This is really useful for debugging tests. Furthermore, UI testing becomes easier with the Selector Playground, where engineers can determine unique element selectors for the application under test. Finally, the error messages displayed on the Test Runner command log can provide a deeper insight into what went wrong and where.

However, despite its advantages, Cypress does not come without any disadvantages, such as:

  • Limited browser support. Even though Cypress can run on multiple browsers, those browsers are limited. Currently, Cypress supports only Chrome-family browsers (including Electron and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge) and Firefox. This may be considered a disadvantage if the testing needs entail full browser coverage. 
  • Support for multiple programming languages. As the Cypress team has stated in their documentationCypress tests anything that runs in the context of a browser. It is back end, front end, language and framework agnostic. The only downside, however, is that the tests themselves have to be written in JavaScript/TypeScript.

Puppeteer

Puppeteer is a Node library which can also be used for test automation, andsimilarly to the other test automation frameworks listed in this articleits rise in popularity has been eminent. Its advantages include:

  • Simplicity of setup. To set up Puppeteer, simply install Puppeteer via npm in your project and start automating. It’s as simple as that.
  • Active community. Being a relatively recent test automation framework, support from the dev community is always welcome. Fortunately for software engineers, Puppeteer has an awesome community where you can find a plethora of useful information. 
  • Benefits from using Chrome. Because it was developed by Google, Puppeteer comes with lots of benefits for using Google Chrome. An important feature of Puppeteer is that it provides a high-level API to control Chromium or Chrome over the DevTools Protocol, while the Puppeteer API is hierarchical and mirrors the browser structure. Another cool feature is Puppeteer’s ability to pinpoint performance issues by using the timeline trace.

Puppeteer has a couple of disadvantages:

  • Limited browser support. Puppeteer is great for testing desktop web applications, but it is important to note that it supports only Chrome and Chromium browsers (stable Firefox support is currently in the works). Therefore, you need to be wary of the fact that Puppeteer accommodates only browser-specific automation needs.
  • Support for multiple programming languages. Given it is a Node library, it comes as no surprise that Puppeteer supports only Node.js/JavaScript automation.

automated testing on laptop at deskPlaywright

Playwright is a fairly recent test automation framework by Microsoft. Because it is open source and JavaScript-based, it has also seen a rise in popularity since its release. Some of its advantages include:

  • Simplicity of setup. Similar to the other JavaScript test automation frameworks, Playwright can be easily set up by running these commands
  • Active community. Being an open source framework, it comes as no surprise that you can turn to Playwright’s community for support. On their official page, Playwright have useful links where you can easily access their preferred channels of communication, such as StackOverflow, Slack, or Twitter.
  • Multiple browser support. One of the greatest advantages of Playwright is that it offers support for cross-browser testing. It supports browsers from the Chromium family, as well as Firefox, and WebKit-based browsers. However, Playwright does not support Internet Explorer.
  • Multiple programming languages support. Another great advantage of Playwright is that its API can be used in languages other than JavaScript, including TypeScript, Python, Java, and .NET. This provides engineers with more flexibility when it comes to developing a test automation solution.

Its disadvantages are:

  • Still evolving. Considering that the first stable version of Playwright was released in 2020, you should be aware that the framework is still evolving and may lack some of the integrations that other frameworks which have existed for a longer time do not. Additionally, because of its recency, changes in its API are to be expected, so you have to stay up to date with Playwright’s development.

WebdriverIO

Another popular and widely used test automation framework is WebdriverIO. This framework comes with the following advantages:

  • Simplicity of setup. Similar to Cypress, WebdriverIO is easy to set up. Run a few commands in your terminal and you’re good to start automating.
  • Active community. Being an open source project, it comes as no surprise that the community around WebdriverIO is vast. Engineers can participate as collaborators and get support, should they need it.
  • Compatibility and browser support. WebdriverIO allows for cross-browser testing, which is very convenient if the testing needs demand covering a wide range of browsers. In addition to supporting web applications automation, WebdriverIO supports the automation of hybrid and native mobile applications, as well as native desktop applications, which is useful when developing multiple types of applications, since WebdriverIO can be used to automate all of them.

As all other frameworks, WebdriverIO does have its disadvantages:

  • Debugging. Debugging tests can be tricky since debugging in WebdriverIO needs to be done through the WDIO task runner. This can be seen as a disadvantage since it could lead to longer debugging times. However, engineers can always turn to the community for support.
  • Support for multiple programming languages. Even though WebDriverIO can be used for testing various types of applications written in a variety of programming languages, WebdriverIO is only available for automated tests using JavaScript (TypeScript).

QA engineer performing automated testing using javascript test automation frameworkTestCafe

TestCafe is another popular Javascript test automation framework with many advantages, including:

  • Simplicity of setup. TestCafe is very simple to set up. All you have to do is run this command in your project root directory and you’re good to go.
  • Active community. TestCafe has some helpful resources available online, like blog posts written by their team and members of their community. This means that anyone who uses TestCafe can share valuable insight and some tips and tricks. In addition to that, TestCafe offers courses and books, which help engineers gain a deeper understanding of the framework.
  • Multiple browser support. A great advantage of TestCafe is that it supports multiple desktop browsers, such as Chrome, Edge, Safari and Internet Explorer. Nevertheless, one thing to keep in mind is that this framework has limited support for mobile web browsers.

The limitations of TestCafe are:

  • Support for multiple programming languages. TestCafe is great for end-to-end testing, but the test automation solution has to be written in JavaScript or TypeScript. 
  • Limited scope of testing. TestCafe supports only end-to-end client-side testing, so if the testing specifications require server-side testing, this framework may not be the best choice. Due to this, TestCafe is not suitable for writing unit and integration tests.

The choice is yours

When choosing a JavaScript test automation framework, you should consider the type of application being tested, the number of configurations needing support, the need for front-end and back-end testing, community support, and so on. Also, be sure to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages for each framework. The most appropriate test automation solution varies from project to project and is dependent on various factors. Luckily, TestDevLab offers automation solutions which cover a wide range of project and product needs. For all your testing and quality assurance needs, we’re here to help. Get in touch and let’s discuss your project.

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